On January 28, President Obama gave his fifth State of the Union speech during which he addressed the urgent need to act on climate change. Conservative media pundits latched on to the cold winter weather in the area during his speech to laugh off global warming, despite the clear long-term warming trend.
In 2014 State Of The Union, President Obama States “Climate Change Is A Fact”
Obama: “The Debate Is Settled.” During his 2014 State of the Union speech, President Obama stated that climate change is a “fact” that demands urgent action:
But we have to act with more urgency because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought and coastal cities dealing with floods. That's why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air.
The shift -- (applause) -- the shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require some tough choices along the way.
But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. (Applause.) And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did. [Washington Post, 1/28/14]
Right-Wing Media Immediately Respond With Snow-Trolling
Fox News' Steve Doocy Points To Snow In Washington, D.C. Fox and Friends co-host Steve Doocy tweeted, "'Climate change is a fact' the President said as it snowed in 18 degree Washington DC."
Fox News' Katie Pavlich Suggests Climate Change Isn't Real Because “It Feels Like 9 Degrees.” Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich tweeted: “It feels like 9 degrees in DC and Obama is saying global warming, I mean climate change, is a FACT” and included a screenshot of the weather forecast:
Fox News' Todd Starnes: “Throw Another Copy Of 'Inconvenient Truth' On The Fire.” Fox News Radio reporter Todd Starnes mocked climate change by invoking former Vice President Al Gore's book An Inconvenient Truth, which was published concurrently with the documentary of the same name.
Daily Caller's Alex Pappas Suggests Snow In Alabama Disproves Climate Change. Alex Pappas, reporter for the Daily Caller, tweeted, “As snow paralyzes Birmingham, Alabama tonight, Obama references global warming. 'The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.'”
The Blaze's Skip LaCombe Suggests Climate Change Is Not A Fact, Points To Cold In Ohio. Skip LaCombe, producer of conservative radio show The Morning Blaze, tweeted, "'The debate is settled. Climate change is a fact.' Did I miss some breaking news?" followed by, “As I sit in Dayton Ohio. I can't wait to see more of this Global warming the president keeps talking about.”
Forbes' Patrick Michaels: It Started Snowing After Obama Mentioned “Climate Change.” Forbes contributor and Cato Institute research fellow Patrick Michaels tweeted, “The Gore Effect lives! As soon as he mentioned 'climate change' it started snowing on Capitol Hill.” The “Gore Effect” is a joke among those who deny climate change that each time Gore speaks at a climate change event, it is cold.
But One Cold Day Doesn't Disprove Decades Of Data
2001 To 2010 Was The Hottest Decade On Record. This chart from the World Meteorological Association shows that 2001 to 2010 was the warmest decade since modern meteorological records began:
[The Washington Post, WonkBlog, 7/9/13]
Even SOTU Speech Date Temperatures Have Increased On Average. The temperature in Washington, D.C. on State of the Union speech dates has increased on average since 1937, the first year with solid temperature data for that date, according to a chart created by Philip Bump:
[The Wire, 1/24/14]